Paralympic champions know how to score the goal!
In the capital of Lithuania sport has a special place or, at least, people in sport, such as I am, believe that it does. For the last five years, Vilnius Sports Festival is organized by Healthy City organization. Here all the visitors have a chance to try different kinds of individual or team sports in the interactive areas, explore the presentations of the sport clubs, listen to speeches of athletes or watch their performances in the main stage. All in all, it is one of the biggest events, which has an intention of sports development in the country. It attracts more than 12,000 visitors and is held in the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Hall, Litexpo.
But as any other event, without interesting stories and inspiring people it would not leave a mark in our lives. For me, as a participant with the field hockey team, it is always a pleasure to see young children and their parents trying to play the game. I like to explain the rules and answer to the question why we use this stick and a hard little ball to score the goal and yes: I love to see their surprised faces, when they find out that we are actually pretty good in Europe. Besides that, the biggest impact this year was left when I saw three blind guys, who were so modest, that they were hiding their medals in their pockets. Real gold medals from Brazil! Lithuania‘s national goal-ball team won a gold medal in the Paralympic Games this year. And I had an opportunity to wear the medal, listen to the speech they gave about the difficulties people with disabilities face, see them trying all the different sports with no insecurities that they can not do it. Because they can, and they stand for the opportunity to choose.
Whatever you may think about people with disabilities and difficulties they face in their daily lives, sports makes all equal. How many of us were actually dreaming about participating in such a high level event as the Olympic Games or the Paralympic Games? How many of us were training hard, failed and wanted to give up? And got the advice to try harder? Why can’t we try harder to make all the sports adaptable to everyone? This goal is not about reaching the target, this goal is about reaching our hearts and minds to remember that first of all we all should have an equal opportunity to choose. This is what ENGSO Youth stands for. This is what Vilnius Sports festival stands for. This is what Paralympic champions stand for. This is what I stand for. This is what you can stand for as well. Your life – your choice!
Photo Credit: Mantas Gudzinevičius